A Much Bigger Story
The New Testament opens by re-emphasizing a theme that runs through the Old Testament: This is God's Story. He's been writing it since before the beginning. He accomplishes it through bizarre events, miraculous activity and unlikely people. It always exceeds our wildest expectations and stretches the limits of believability. Mary and Joseph had dreams of their own -- dreams they'd been dreaming since before God started meddling in their business. They were modest dreams, to be sure, of raising nice kids and having a nice home.
But then God showed up and invited them into a a larger Story, a dangerous story that would demand more of their time and energy than they could have ever imagined. Signing on to play their roles in this Story would be compelling, but it would also be costly. It promised a greater adventure than they could have found anywhere else -- the kind worth living and dying for -- but they would have to become supporting characters, rather than stars.
Life is not all about you. Obviously, you're in there. You're significant. Your life has meaning and purpose and all that. But let's be honest about this: There's a much bigger Story playing out around you. You have a couple of options. You can choose to be the star of your own story. It's a relatively small story with a minuscule budget, and you have to write, direct, produce, act and do your own hair and wardrobe.
It's exhausting just thinking about all that.
Or you can choose to play a supporting role in Someone Else's masterpiece; to be precise: God's Story. His story has no beginning and no end; it has an unlimited budget, and the wrap party promises to be something we can't even begin to imagine.
The only problem is that you don't get to be the star.
Of course, it's a much better movie, and -- because there's Someone Else writing, producing and directing this thing -- you don't end up running yourself ragged and driving everyone around you insane.
The greater the story, the larger the narrative, the more able it is to withstand hardships and the more likely it is to answer the foundational questions that keep us up at night. Where did we come from? Where are we going? How are we to live in the meantime?
As it turns out, nothing less than this Big Story will really satisfy our deepest longings. What we find when we allow our stories to be absorbed into God's larger Narrative is that we can actually embed our time into eternity.
The choice is yours. Do you want to star in your own little show? Or do you want to play a supporting role in the greatest Story ever told?
This is an excerpt from my latest book, The 52 Greatest Stories of the Bible.